a group of people looking at a phone© Olivia Rae James Once upon a time, mothers of the bride were expected to wear matronly dresses in Easter-egg pastels or washed out shades of beige. Thankfully, that's in the past. But now that they're free to express their sartorial sensibilities, determining what the mother of the bride should wear with so many fashionable options can be incredibly overwhelming. Talk about spoiled for choice! Never fear. We asked some bridal pros to give us a few pointers for making the process as seamless as possible. Whether you're a bride who's hoping to help your mom find the perfect look or the materfamilias to the lucky lady herself, we've got the who, what, when, where and how of MOB dress shopping.

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Mother of the Bride Dress Guide . Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS. What color would you like the mother of the bride to wear ? Should the dress color match with the bridesmaids dress color?

(This sounds harder than shopping for a wedding dress !) You should aim to complement the bride rather than overshadow her. 2. Switch Up a Suit. Photo via Coast. A dress and blazer combo is the mother of the bride /groom staple, and while it can make a gorgeous go-to, you might like to wear

1. Let the Bride Be Your Guide

If you take away only one tip, let it be this one: Follow the bride's cues about style, color, and degree of formality. She and the groom set the tone for the event, whether that means a casual country wedding complete with cowboy boots or a formal black-tie affair. You're an important member of the wedding party and you'll want to look the part. So, ask your daughter for some guidelines and follow suit.

2. Take Color Cues from the Wedding Party

Traditionally, the mother of the bride's dress should complement the wedding party's colors (though not necessary match). Therefore, says Shea Jensen, bridal director for Nordstrom, it's best to wait until your daughter chooses the bridesmaids' dresses to begin shopping. See if you can get a swatch of their fabric to take with you — it will be super helpful when searching for a harmonizing hue.

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Most bridal shops and high-end dress shops have tailors who will make sure that your dress fits as it should . You’ll pay extra for this service, of course. Excerpted from The Mother of the Bride Guide by Katie Martin. Copyright © 2016 F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher.

See More: What Should the Mother of the Bride Wear ? A Dress Shopping Guide . 8. Stash a Linen Handkerchief in Your Purse. Because chances are you're going to shed some tears!

If your daughter foregoes the uniform bridesmaid dresses in favor of individual outfits in a similar shade, stick to one or the other. For instance, if she asks her attendants to wear black cocktail dresses, you might want to choose something in silver or grey. Or if her girls are going in cobalt blue, a navy dress would pair perfectly.

There's only one color not to wear say the experts: Avoid anything in the same color as the bride's dress. Though you deserve to look stunning, the bride should stand out as the star of the show.

3. Borrow from the Venue, Too

It used to be that mother-of-the-bride dresses followed a kind of uniform — a cocktail jacket atop an understated sheath. Today, almost anything goes — so long as it's appropriate for the event. So, while you probably wouldn't wear a strapless dress to a church wedding, it might be just the thing for a beach ceremony. However, you can add a lovely wrap or, yes, even a jacket to that same dress and it instantly becomes chapel appropriate.

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Continue Shopping . Home Customer Service What to Wear : Mother of The Bride . The time of year should inform the wedding colors and styles, including the mother of the bride ’s dress .

A few other things to remember when putting together her wedding wear : Religious and cultural customs may dictate a certain dress code for the ceremony, so she should be prepared to cover up if required (a jacket, cardigan or chic shawl should do the Shop mother of the bride dresses here.

Make sure you also take the weather and cultural or religious customs into account when finding your outfit. Whatever kind of wedding it is, you can never go wrong if you these three words come to mind: elegant, understated, and appropriate.

4. Time It Right — and Communicate Your Choice

According to our bridal experts, you should start searching for your dress no later than three moths before the wedding to allow time for special orders and alterations. You may choose to look in department or specialty stores for your dress, but don't pass over traditional bridal salons. Many have options for the mother of the bride, as well!

It is customary for the mother of the bride to buy her dress first and to then share her choice with the mother of the groom. The mother of the groom might also need special orders and alterations, so be sure to give her ample time to accomplish this before the wedding. The mothers' dresses don't have to match (unless that's what the bride wants), but they should complement each other. Remember, you'll be taking lots of pictures together and the only person who should stand out is the bride.

Our big mac day! Bride and groom make pit stop at McDonald’s in the middle of lavish $95,000 wedding

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According to Mara Urshel of Kleinfeld Bridal , a dress shop in New York City, pale pinks, greens, and blues are all popular colors; black is appropriate for only the The hour and formality of the wedding (not necessarily the style of the bride 's gown) should influence your mother -in-law-to-be's final choice.

Your Mother of the bride (MoB) dress should stand out from the rest of the matchy-matchy wedding party – but it shouldn’t be more eye-catching than the bridal gown. If she can’t accompany you while you shop , you should request examples of what she might want you to wear .

5. Get Pretty Just Prior to the Wedding

There aren't any special rules for mother-of-the-bride hair and makeup. Again, think elegant, understated, and appropriate — and reflective of your style. As with the bridal party, you'll usually want to get a fresh mani and pedi the day before the wedding and have your hair and makeup done the day of. Whether you do this with the bridal party is up to your daughter.

If the bride prefers to get glammed up with just her bridesmaids, don't take it personally. You can invite the mother of the groom or other family members to have a prettying party of your own, or relish the rare moment of quiet and plan to slip off on your own. Just make sure that you do plan to get your hair and makeup done — whether by a professional or trusted friend. Too often, mothers overlook themselves in favor of their children. Remember, it's your special day, too!